Tuesday 26 January 2016 6:36 pm

Generali boss Mario Greco leaving to take up chief exec role at rival Zurich Insurance

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Mario Greco, chief executive of Italian insurer Generali, is to step down at the end of his current contract, in order to take up the helm at Zurich Insurance.

He will replace Tom de Swaan, who has been leading Zurich since Martin Senn quit as boss on 1 December, after the company’s attempted takeover of UK insurer RSA failed.

“Mario offers the rare combination of entrepreneurial spirit, deep industry knowledge and proven CEO experience that anchored our search for Zurich’s next leader," de Swaan said. 

"His intimate understanding of our company and our industry and his track record as a leader make him a unique candidate for the role.”

Greco, 56, will take up his new role on 1 May. He said last night: "I am honoured to be asked to join Zurich at this critical juncture for the insurance industry.

Like many global players, the company has faced market challenges in recent times but I know that Zurich’s strong global franchise, the breadth of talent and the powerful brand provide all of the ingredients for our future success.”

According to the Generali, Greco "this evening informed the chairman of the company, Gabriele Galateri di Genola, that he would be unwilling to serve another term as CEO of the company".

His current term as chief exec expires when the upcoming annual general meeting is held on 28 April.

Generali said in a statement: "Mr Greco has also expressed that he is ready to continue in his role as CEO in the best interests of Generali until the end of the current mandate. The chairman noted this news with regret and will soon call a board of directors meeting for information purposes."

Greco worked at Swiss group Zurich for five years, including two as chief executive of the general insurance business, before he joined Generali in 2012, and rumours of the move have been swirling in the market since December.